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Sep '09 19

IBAF Notes on 10th Day of Baseball World Cup

Press Release International Baseball Federation, www.ibaf.org

KEY MATCHUPS ON TAP SATURDAY: There will again be eight games played on Saturday in the Netherlands and Italy, including key matchups between South Korea and Cuba and the United States and Mexico.  The complete schedule can  be found at 2009BaseballWorldCup.com

USA-AUSTRALIA RAINED OUT FRIDAY: Friday’s USA-Australia game was rained out…makeup date is TBD.

DUTCH LONE UNDEFEATED TEAM AT 5-0 ON HOME TURF: The Netherlands improved their record to 5-0 with Friday’s win.  San Francisco Giants prospect Sharlon Schoop, who played with Connecticut of the Eastern League this season, is hitting .550 (11-20) in the first five games, while Los Angeles Angels prospect Hainley Statia (7-16, .438) and former Baltimore Oriole Eugene Kingsale is hitting at a .368 pace. The Netherlands are leading all teams with a .344 batting average.

PUERTO RICO  COMING ON STRONG: Friday’s win by Puerto Rico was their third straight, and followed one run wins over South Korea and Great Britain.  Puerto Rico’s mix of veterans and rising stars is led by Baltimore Orioles prospect Miguel Abreu, their leading hitter at .387 (11 hits) and a team best eight runs scored.

CHINESE TAIPEI PITCHING BOUNCES BACK : Chinese Taipei bounced back from their 14-3 loss Thursday to the USA to shutout hard hitting Mexico in 10 innings Friday. Yu-Ching Lin is 3-0 in relief for Chinese Taipei to lead all pitchers in wins, and in their four wins their staff  has allowed just four earned runs in their last 47 innings of work.

CUBA STOPPED BUT STILL SETTING THE PITCHING PACE: Cuba’s quest to regain the World Cup was slowed a bit by Puerto Rico Friday, but they are still leading the World Cup  in pitching.  Led by a staff with a 1.70 ERA and 89 strikeouts vs. only 19 walks, and one home run allowed.  Cuban pitcher Norge Vera raised his record to 2-0 on Wednesday and has yet to allow a run in 14 innings, while Miguel Gonzalez struck out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.

NICARAGUA BALANCED ATTACK CONTINUES: Led by veteran 3B Jimmy Morales Gonzalez and a solid pitching staff, Nicaragua has remained in the World Cup mix.  The 31 year old Gonzalez is the World Cup’s leading hitter, (.500 16-32 5 HR 14 RBI).

CANADA PULLS THREE STRAIGHT TOGETHER: Canada had their third straight win Friday, led by a pitching staff that has allowed just two runs per game over the last three. 1B Tim Smith, now a Texas Rangers prospect, is leading a balanced attack (.500 10-20 2 HR 9 RBI), while Minnesota Twins prospect Rene Tosoni is hitting .400 (14-35).

The World Cup thus far has seen several team and World Cup records tied for fall. They include:

  • Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez striking out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.
  • Australia pitcher and Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect David Welch set an Australian record with 13 strikeouts in just seven innings Tuesday against Chinese Taipei.
  • USA pitcher and California Angels prospect Trevor Reckling, had 11 K’s against China last Saturday, tying the team mark of pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970.
  • USA infielder and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez set a team mark by hitting three home runs in Thursday’s win over Chinese Taipei.

POPULAR NAMES MENTORING CURRENT TEAMS: Several managers, coaches and front office staff of the remaining World Cup teams are no strangers to baseball success…the group includes:

  • Team Canada Head coach Ernie Whitt, who spent 15 seasons in the Major Leagues as a catcher with the Blue Jays, Braves, Red Sox and Orioles, and was a 1985 All-Star and  Canadian coach Larry Walker, who spent 17 seasons with   the Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies, and St. Louis Cardinals and was National League Most Valuable Player in 1997 and was a five time All-Star…
  • Italy coach Mike Piazza, easily one of the greatest catchers in Major League history, was a 16 year veteran for the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets and Padres and was a 10 time all-star…
  • Puerto Rico Manager Eduardo Perez, the son of baseball Hall of Famer Tony Perez, played seven Major League seasons and took a leave from ESPN to manage the Puerto Rican team.
  • Netherlands Manager Rod Delmonico was one of the most successful collegiate coaches in the United States at the University of Tennessee, and led the Netherlands to their epic upsets of the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic in the spring.
  • Spain is coached by Italian Mauro Mazzotti, 50, the only manager to win three Italian Serie A championships, Rimini 1999, Bologna 2003 and 2005 and Grosseto in 2007. Currently he manages Rimini, which spent most of this past season in first place in the Italian League.
  • USA General Manager Bob Watson played 18 years in the Major Leagues and coached in the big leagues for 15 years. A two-time All-Star (1973, ’75) in his 19 Major League seasons with the Astros, Red Sox, Yankees and Braves. He was a career .295 hitter with 184 home runs and 989 runs batted in.

METS PROSPECT DAVIS NAMED ORGANIZATION PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Team USA first baseman Ike Davis, the club’s 2008 first round pick, is hitting .417  and was named the Organization’s Minor League Player of the Year on Thursday. The New York Mets organization is represented by 13 players, eight current and four former players…in addition to Davis,  infielders Shawn Bowman and Jonathan Malo are playing for Team Canada, infielder Stefan Welch is playing for  Australia and is second on the team with 3 HR and 8 RBI, right handed pitcher Montero Cruz is  playing for Spain, catcher Kai Gronauer  represented Germany, lefthanded pitcher Arturo Lopez  plays for Mexico and infielder Ray Van Gurp is on the Netherlands roster.  Puerto Rico’s roster has four former Mets players not currently signed to an MLB team, including Jose Santiago, Raul Casanova, Luis Matos, Jose Valentin and Juan Padilla.  Valentin is tied for Puerto Rico’s lead in runs scored with six.

INTERNATIONAL TELEVSION COVERAGE EXPANDS: The IBAF has added three additional television partners for the latter part of the second round and into the final round.  WAPA TV, the Spanish-language channel of Universal Sports in Puerto Rico and the United States, has added Friday’s  Cuba-Puerto Rico game, TVES in Venezuela will show all remaining games involving Venezuela, and TV4 in Nicaragua will show all Nicaragua games remaining in the tournament.  That is in addition to the coverage of Eurosport2, NOS in the Netherlands, RAI Sport in Italy, and ICRT ib Cuba.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW…MAYBE THE TWINS SHOULD HAVE FIELDED THEIR OWN TEAM: More proof that scouts are the best source for information arose, when the Twins scouting staff pointed out that there are actually 14 players currently under contract in the organization and playing in the World Cup. The 14 players include: Garcia and Fuentes (PR), Plouffe (USA), Tosoni (CAN), Galvan (Spain), Robb (SA), Stuifbergan (NED), Rehacek, Hejma (CZE), Beresford, Hughes, Hendriks, Tippett, Williams (AUS). In addition, there are nine other players, 23 total, who originally signed with the Twins but are either with another team now, or they have been released: Smit (NED), Tiffee (USA), Gessman, Henkenjohann (GER), Hajtmar, Toufar (CZE), Berg, Hill (AUS), Sandoval (VEN).

ALVAREZ  SETS INDIVIDUAL, USA TIES, TEAM HOMER MARK: Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez carved a niche in the USA record book by hitting three home runs in Thursday’s win, including one each in the first two innings of play. Team USA hit six home runs total in the game, tying their World Cup mark set against Spain in both 1988 and 2007.  The USA has now hit a tournament-best 22 home runs, led by Texas Rangers prospect Justin Smoak’s six.  Smoak has had a pair of two home run games thus far as well.

USA PITCHING IN CONTROL AGAIN: Team USA’s starters continued their dominance the second time through their rotation, as Atlanta Braves prospect Todd Redmond pitched seven shutout innings Thursday to earn his second win, matching the mark of Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Brad Lincoln who allowed just one run against Japan on Tuesday. The USA rotation has combined to allow just five earned runs, 18 hits and 46 strikeouts in 41 innings.  On Saturday Reckling, had 11 K’s against China, which tied the mark of former Dodger and Cubs pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970. Sunday, Luebeke joined Reckling, Ben McDonald (1988) and Hank Woodman (2003) as the only USA pitchers to reach double digits in a game.  Overall Team USA set their own World Cup record with 16 strikeouts vs. China, breaking the mark of 14 set against Brazil in 2003.

DIGNITARY WATCH: Former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch attended Spain’s opening win over South Africa…Samaranch was instrumental in bringing baseball to the Olympic programme  in Barcelona in 1992…baseball was denied re-entry into the Olympics for 2016 recently, making it the largest sport in the world not on the Olympic programme…Achmed Baâdoud, Alderman for sports, economy & employment, information and automation for the area in Amsterdam called Osdorp, attended the Netherlands-Puerto Rico game…Danielle de Bruyn, member of gold medal-winning Netherlands Olympic Womens Water Polo Team, threw out the first pitch before the Netherlands- Puerto Rico game…Bruce Bourbeau, the U.S. consul stationed in Barcelona was joined by Ayaz Hussain, consul general from Pakistan for the Puerto Rico-Cuba game…

D-BACKS SIGN FIRST EUROPEAN PROSPECT: The Arizona Diamondbacks this week have signed pitcher Andrea Pizziconi of Italy, their first ever European player signing. Pizziconi is the cousin of Cincinnati reds prospect Matteo Pizziconi, who went 2-2 with a 1.80 ERA for the Reds Rookie League team this past summer

EXTRA INNING RULE: The IBAF’s Extra Inning Rule, designed to control the length of games, has now been used six times, with Chinese Taipei (3-0) and Australia (1-1) going to extra innings the most thus far. For extra innings, each team starts their half of the inning with runners on first and second and no out.  Each subsequent inning starts the same until a winner is determined.  A version of the rule, starting in the 11th inning, was implemented during the Beijing Olympics and was used five times, with only one game going an additional inning before being decided.  The World Baseball Classic adapted the rule, starting in the 14th inning, but it was never put into effect.

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